The OODD guide to The Dad Body.

So, it’s happened, you’re a dad.

Congratulations.

Yet, as the euphoria fades and the reality of day to day life with children settles, it’s likely that you’ve had some concerns about your body. Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s changed a little of late? Maybe you’re not the athlete you once were? Have you discovered hair in places you never dreamed of?

Don’t worry, it’s all perfectly normal.

Like a fat caterpillar transitioning into a glorious flamboyant butterfly, your pre-children physique has transformed into something completely different:

The Dad Body!

Here’s your handy Out Of Depth Dad guide to the new body that you’re currently residing within.

1: Things change

Nothing (with the possible exception of any episode of ITV1’s Loose Women)  goes on forever. It’s the same with your body. You may have thought you’d be that Brad Pitt look-alike until your dying day, but sadly that’s not going to happen. In fact, if you take a long hard look in the mirror you’ll now see that you look more like Brad Pitt ON his dying day. Something has happened to your body – it’s wilted quicker than a bag of supermarket salad.

‘How did this happen?’ I hear you cry!

Simply put becoming a dad unlocks a special part of your brain that encourages you to let your body go to crap.

It’s a tale as old as time.

2: People see things differently. 

So how did you not notice the sudden arrival of The Dad Body? Frankly, you were too tired to even care. Looking after a baby is one long cycle of pooey nappies, feeds and secretly eating entire cans of Pringles in one sitting when you think nobody is looking. The strange thing is, Mother Nature (in her infinite wisdom) decided to put dads in denial about The Dad Body until it was far too late to do anything about it – anything easy, that didn’t require getting up from the sofa, at least!

So, for all those months you’ve been holding your kid and seeing yourself as an Athena model when you look in the mirror, you’ve actually been in denial about looking more like Eric Pickles’ kid brother.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Nature and the purveyors of a whole array of delicious salty snacks were scheming against you. What were you to do?

3: You can only suck your tummy in for so long…

At some point every recipient of The Dad Body must bite the bullet and embrace their new physique. You need to learn to love the new, more capacious, you. It’s hard to suck your tummy in, 24 hours a day, for months at a time. So the time finally comes when you must let your tummy out*.

Do it. You owe it to yourself.

*Be sure not to do this in a confined area – as people may be injured by the ricochet effect your newly unleashed gut has as it lurches for freedom.

4: Budgie Smugglers

Traditionally, new recipients of The Dad Body go through ‘Rites of Passage’. Once the dad gut is released, and you’re no longer able to see your toes, fathers the world over invest in one item of clothing – tiny swimming trunks.

We’re not entirely sure what attracts recent Dad Body converts to the tiniest shorts known to humanity. Some say that the part of the brain that traditionally guides taste and embarrassment is short-circuited when the male passes into The Dad Body phase. Whatever the truth is, it’s important that all dads find themselves a pair of budgie smugglers. Especially tiny pairs of trunks are available for especially chunky dads with nothing to write home about in the downstairs department. Perhaps consult your local friendly sports’ retailer to discover which set of trunks suits you least – then buy them.

5: The MAMIL

Of late, a second option, beyond the requisite budgie smugglers, has gone on offer for fully paid up members of The Dad Body club. Many dads are now turning to cycling* to show off their total lack of physique. These Middle Aged Men in Lycra can be spotted up and down the country – occasionally in possession of a bike. So if the Speedo is too much for you, why not consider shoe-horning yourself into a Spandex bodysuit that leaves literally nothing to the imagination. It’s the perfect way to embrace your Dad Body and embarrass the hell out of your kids.

*Note. Don’t worry, actually cycling is an optional extra. Most men in possession of The Dad Body merely put on the kit and drink lattes outside coffee shops.

6: Hair today

As you familiarize yourself with your newly acquired Dad Body, you’ll notice that you now have hair in places you didn’t expect. Hair shoulders, knuckles, ears, noses and ridiculous eyebrows are all part and parcel of entering The Dad Body state. There are two ways to go with these new forest like patches erupting from your body.

i) Most men pretend it’s not happening and focus on finding the perfect pair of swimming trunks.

ii) Some men turn to waxing. This painful method of hair removal requires entering (of all things to strike fear in a man’s heart) ‘A Salon’, where a overly-friendly lady, who believes there’s no such thing as ‘too much makeup’ will agonizingly rip the hair from your skin.

The back wax is most popular for owners of The Dad Body, yet other options are available. Why not consider ‘The Back, Sack and Crack’? I’m told it’s the closest thing to the pain of labour a man can go through – so it may bring you closer to your partner.

7: Exercise

Many will tell you that a thing called ‘Exercise’ is the best way for men to revert back to their pre-Dad Body state. These people are liars! ‘Exercise’ was invented in the 1970s by the government in an effort to thin down the number of people surviving to a pensionable age.

If you must exercise, make sure you get involved in an activity like Golf – essentially a walk and a chat with a particularly heavy bag. Squash is to be avoided at all costs. Any game named after a children’s drink is not a good idea.

8: The exceptions…

You’ll notice that there are a very few men, who don’t develop into The Dad Body stage on having children. Instead they maintain flat stomachs and have muscles. Don’t be confused, these exceptions are the weirdos – not you. These unnatural types inject themselves with unicorn placentas, commune with unholy spirits and do even weirder things like eat vegetables.

If you find yourself having a chat with an exception (he’ll be called ‘Brad’ or ‘Rob’) just nod and smile and get away from him as soon as you can. Be assured, they may have non-dad bodies, but they’re not happy.

***

So there’s my OODD guide to The Dad Body.

I’ll end with a reminder, next time you’re feeling bad about your dad physique remember a wise man once said:

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a man with a Dad Body to walk past McDonalds.”

Give yourself a break – you’re doing great!

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

The OODD Guide to Nappy Changing a Crawler…

So it’s happened. You’ve been dreading it for months now and, finally, it’s here!!

HE/SHE (delete as appropriate) is…

CRAWLING!

In a moment, HE/SHE finally mastered forward propulsion and, with an unremarkable shuffle, your life just changed forever.

What happened next? You panicked didn’t you? Don’t be coy, everyone does. Suddenly, the realization dawns that your little crying & pooing creature (that you’re not allowed to return to the shop because you lost the receipt or something) has cast off its most endearing quality – complete immobility. That’s right, from now on it won’t be staying where you put it and that’s bloody scary!

The blind panic that this triggers lasts around 24 hours (usually), during which time you tape the furniture to the floor, blunt all the butter knives and rip up the carpet (replacing it with Velcro).

Don’t worry it’s all perfectly normal.

Now that you’ve ruined your house, bubble-wrapped the dog and sanded down all the sharp edges on grandma, in a futile bid to overcome your little darling one’s kamikaze tendencies, another horrendous thought strikes: “How the hell am I going to change their nappies?”

Fear not, you’re in the right place. Here’s my exclusive OODD guide to nappy changing a Crawler.

You can thanks me later.

1: STAY CALM

What you’re about to do is like sitting down to watch Sex & The City 2 – essentially no good will come of this situation. It will (I promise) be a living hell from beginning to end. Reconcile yourself to that. Perhaps have a few moments of quiet contemplative swearing before you begin.

It can help.

2: BE DETERMINED

Crawlers can smell weakness, just like you can smell the contents of their Pampers. Don’t let them think they’re going to win – otherwise they will test you. Consider drop kicking a teddy before you begin to show your Crawler that you mean business. Place your Crawler onto their changing mat and tell them as confidently as you can that they’re nappy is about to be changed.

3: DON’T FORGET WET-WIPES

Crawlers have a special 6th Sense that instructs them in the best way to create maximum carnage during a nappy change. If said diaper is merely wet they may just conserve energy. If, however, it’s messier than an explosion in a gateaux factory it’s guaranteed they’ll move quicker than a Jeremy Kyle show guest when the free bar opens.

THERE WILL BE POO EVERYWHERE. 

Wet-wipes can hide a multitude of sins. By ‘sins’ (of course) mean poo. I’m yet to meet a surface that a wet wipe couldn’t clean. When cleaning a Crawler the wet-wipe is your friend. There have been times, if I’d laid them all out, I could’ve created a baby wet-wipe version of the Turin shroud.

4: RE-DECORATE

I may have over-stated wet-wipes cleaning abilities. They don’t (necessarily) get rid of the smell. Don’t worry, you’ll get used it. But if you’re planning to have visitors (ever) you’ll probably want to re-decorate – once a week should do the trick. If you have a spare room, consider getting a painter and decorator to move in on a permanent basis. Trust me there’ll always be stuff for them to do – mainly painting over pooey hand-prints.

5: BUY BROWN CARPETS

You’ll never regret a brown carpet. It may be covered in skid-marks but no-one will ever know*.

*This isn’t strictly true. The smell is something of a giveaway. Consider recruiting people with no sense of smell as friends.

6: BUY YOURSELF BROWN CLOTHES

For further elaboration, see my thoughts on brown carpets. If brown isn’t your colour, perhaps try getting into the vinyl or rubber scene*. Either material is very easily wiped down – although a lack of pockets may be an issue.

* This may make raise a few eyebrows among the neighbours – although they probably hate you already because of all the crying (from the baby).

7: STAY CALM

You won’t. Running around after a crawler who is smearing every item you hold dear in excrement is unlikely to have this effect. That said – I’m trying to fill up space.

8: IT CAN WAIT

Why not just keep putting off changing the nappy? I find the morning alarm-clock approach works a treat: “I’ll get up in 10 minutes” can easily become “I’ll change them in 10 minutes.”

Why do now what you can put off until later? Words to live by if ever I heard them!

9: DON’T NEGOTIATE

It’s likely that you’ll find yourself pleading with your Crawler just to stay still for a moment – this is often accompanied by tears (yours).

“Daddy’s had a long day, please be still.”

“Be nice to daddy, don’t put your pooey hands on the wall.”

“Please don’t wipe your bottom on the carpet!”

Don’t do this, it won’t help. Have some self-respect.

10: WINE HELPS

I find the best solution is just to go with the flow. Reconcile yourself to the fact that your home and all your clothes are going to have a ‘funny smell’ for the next few years and relax. Rather than worrying about avoiding the inevitable, just close your eyes and think about the copious amounts of alcohol you’re going to drink when your Crawler goes to bed. I’d recommend something with a strong bouquet, to mask any nasty niffs.

***

So concludes my OODD guide to nappy changing a Crawler. I hope it’s changed your life.

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

@Outofdepth_dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Win at Social Media!

The life of a social media Guru, like me, isn’t as easy as it may sometimes seem.

OK, to the untrained eye, it may appear that all we need do is put up a post about, oh, I don’t know… ‘Baked Beans’ every now and then, and our followers will lap it up maintaining our status as internet superstars.

If only that were true.

It takes a little more than access to a few hot Instagram filters and sick buzzwords (that the young people love) to be an international social media sensation.

Here’s my foolproof guide to being a smash-hit on Facechat, Snapbook and the like…

1* Be REAL. Followers love ‘Reality’, especially when it doesn’t look like real life. Drop into all of your posts some references to how ‘real’ you are.

If you can fake being real, you’re onto a winner.

2* Don’t be TOO REAL. Whatever REAL thing you’re doing, dial it back a bit. Reality is like Coldplay, a little is OK sometimes, but it’s easy to drift into too much and suddenly you find yourself rocking in a corner waiting for it all to stop.

3* Be FAMOUS. If you possibly can, try to be famous. This will really help you on social media. If it’s possible to be a Kardashian, that’s a real advantage. Why not try to act a little more like a Kardashian? A good way to start is looking unimpressed at everything and using the vocabulary of a four-year-old.

4* Act FAMOUS. Try to Tweet about how hard life is for you, now that you’re famous, even if you’re not. Wear dark glasses whenever you can and stick your bum out at photographers*.

* Note, not advisable when having your passport photo / mugshot taken.

5* Get into HACKS. Hacks are the lifeblood of the social media star. Any way of making life easier is a great bit of info to pass onto your followers. But make your hacks aspirational. If you’re going to give out a hack about getting the last bit of ketchup from a bottle, use Waitrose sauce, not Tesco value.

Remember, you’re living the dream.

6* LIVE THE DREAM. Make your life look at least 30% better than it actually is. Perhaps get a more photogenic friend to stand in for an ugly family member in any snaps you take? Tell your followers that you work for the UN, rather than Pound-stretcher. Remember, even if make up a few untruths about hanging out with Kofi Annan – keep it real. Maybe blog that you were accidentally wearing last season’s lip shade – TOTES AWKS!

7* Get into CRAFTS. Ruining a perfectly decent pair of trainers with a hot glue gun and a selection of shiny objects will really endear you to your followers. Try to ruin at least one item this way every week. Followers need a regular inoculation of crafts to remind them that they hate that type of thing – you’ll get loads of ReTweets for pictures of any crafty tat like that.

8* Are you FAMOUS yet? Have you actually been trying to get famous? Perhaps write a blog where you pretend to know famous people – Elton John suggested I do this and it worked really well for me.

9* Give ADVICE. A sure way of increasing your standing in the online community is giving advice to others – especially in areas where you’re completely unqualified. Perhaps write a list or ‘method’ to becoming a social media star?

10* Quick hints to achieving social media success:

a) Be beautiful. Talk about it – but be real.

b) Be ugly. Talk about it – don’t be too real.

c) Have a bad hair day – make sure it looks like everyone else’s good hair day.

d) Women perfect your ‘no makeup’ look – make sure this includes lots of makeup.

e) Dads create laugh-free sub-Jackass videos showing how you’re ‘winning’ at parenting.  Make your tired wife the butt of the joke.

f) Drop unsubtle product placement into your blogs. Make it aspirational – like a guide to potty training in association with Habitat or John Lewis bridal.

g) Get a pet*. Make sure it’s photogenic. Or a really ugly pet. Get a sad backstory – make one up. *Not a good idea.

h) Become intolerant. Gluten is a good start, but there are other many options! Why not blog about being intolerant to pies? Make sure they’re aspirational pies though!

***

That was my guide to winning on social media. I’m sure it’s changed your life.

If it hasn’t, why not blog about it?

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

www.facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

 

He’s on the move!

It’s so true what they say, the grass is always greener…

For months it seemed the only question* I was being asked was: “Is he crawling yet?”

To which the answer was a firm “No.”

*Technically, this wasn’t the only question I was asked. Additional questions that have been proffered in my direction of late include: “Are you happy with your current broadband provider?”, “Would you like to add a drink for an extra 75p?” and, genuinely, “Can I tell you all about our Lord, Jesus Christ?” For the record, I answered “No” to all of the above. 

Sam’s mum and I spent many hours worrying about his crawling (or lack of it). We did it in that textbook modern parenting not-worrying, worrying way.

“Should we be worried he’s not crawling yet?”

“No. I mean, it’s not a competition.”

“Too true.”

But it is a competition – even if you don’t want it to be. We all silently seethe at the kid (there’s always one) who skipped crawling and is walking already – then again that precocious so-and-so is probably tap dancing, speaking basic French and learning to whip up a convincing bolognese too!

So, you can imagine, we were thrilled when it all clicked and Sam started to crawl in earnest. Boy can he crawl! He’s like the Road Runner is those old cartoons, there really is no stopping him.

Then it sank in. THERE REALLY IS NO STOPPING HIM!

Our joy lasted all of… oh… five seconds as we realized the size of our house has suddenly diminished and we are now sentenced to an interminable period of chasing around after Sam as he launches himself into harm’s way with gleeful abandon.

Wasn’t life so much easier when he wasn’t crawling?

Wasn’t that grass so much greener?

Wasn’t that a lawn far easier to tend?

After a quick Google, it became clear that there was no going back. We couldn’t encourage Sam to be a non-crawler for a bit, to make our lives easier. We were stuck with the situation.

The house, which up to this point had been our oasis, suddenly looked like a giant trap;  filled (Home Alone-style) with dangerous obstacles for our new crawler.

Everywhere I looked were sharp corners, lethal hinges, top-heavy bits of furniture and… and… well you get the idea.

Time and again, I’m drawn back to those David Attenborough documentaries that show how – via nothing more than instinct – the young of other species emerge into the world with a sixth sense for avoiding danger. Mother Nature must really have had a chuckle when, rather than giving human young a street-smart savviness, she decided to turn them into Frank Spencer like klutzes with the ability to find a crisis in any situation.

As a kid, one of my favourite films was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There’s a scene, at the beginning of the film, shows the hapless Roger trying to look after Baby Herman, who (for comic reasons) dives headfirst into one lethal situation after another. Click here to view. As a child, I thought this was a ridiculous skit created to provoke laughter.  I now realize that I was wrong. The scene is much closer to a public information film, a documentary reenactment of the real life chaos that parents are perennially just moments away from. All it needs is a Michael Burke voice over and the Roger Rabbit sketch could belong in the old TV show 999!

God it’s terrifying. 

Oh and while I remember. How the hell do you change a nappy on a baby that won’t lie still for a more than two seconds? Just when you thought you’ve got the whole nappy thing down, they move the goal posts once again! It’s like trying to change the tyre on a Formula One car as it whizzes by at top speed! I literally don’t have enough limbs to hold Sam still, clean him and apply a new nappy. It’s impossible!!!

As you might already have guessed, my focus has now moved onto fantasizing about new and much greener grass – when Sam can walk.

Things will be so much easier then…

Who am I kidding?

 

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

 

 

 

Mission Bloody Impossible!!

Life’s full of little surprises at the moment, like the one I just gave myself when I tried to open the cupboard under the sink.

“Wait a minute, I’ll just get the washing up li… OH SHIT!***”

Like some latter-day Samson (without comparable hair), I’d inadvertently ripped off the baby-proof lock I’d painstakingly spend hours putting on the cupboard door. The air was momentarily blue with my frustration.

***I debated for a while whether I should represent the word ‘shit’ as ‘sh*t’. It seemed, for a moment, like that might be the most genteel thing to do. Then I noticed the ‘Bloody’ in my title and thought sod it.

Back to the cupboard under the sink… I’d just spent the last few days baby proofing the house and, boy, was it an unpleasant task.

With the prospect of Sam getting to grips with crawling firmly on the horizon, the need to protect him from himself is at the forefront of our minds.

“Just buy a few of those magnetic lock things,” said the mate that I consulted over the issue. “They’re easy to fit.”

Easy?

EASY?

Compared to what? Nuclear Fusion? I have never, in my entire existence, found anything trickier to put together – they’re like doing a Rubik’s Cube in the dark.

At first I was all GCSE technical drawing, with my ruler and pencil, marking onto the door the point where the locks should go. I drew my guide lines and attached the lock, clip and closed the door. I then pulled on the handle and door opened freely. As if the lock wasn’t there.

In the next six hours (I’m not joking) I fitted 6 locks. Each started with the pencil and ruler, then they were ditched – I may or may not have taken the ruler snapped it in half and thrown it out of the kitchen window.

The method I found most successful was as follows:

Stick the lock on.

Close the door.

Open the door.

Swear.

Try and rip the lock off.

Fail.

Get a knife and lever the lock off.

Scratch myself with the knife.

Swear again.

Get the the lock off.

Re-stick the lock, a little left from where it was originally.

Close the door.

Open the door.

Swear – louder this time.

Try and pull the lock off.

Lever it off again.

Realize the glue isn’t very sticky on the lock anymore.

Try moving it right this time – almost close the door and squint through the gap.

Stick it down.

Close the door.

Open the door again – nothing.

Swear – very loudly this time.

Kick something.

Throw the lock in the bin.

Have a walk around the garden.

Retrieve the lock from the bin. 

You get the idea.

So when I’d finally got the locks to work – you can imagine how frustrating it was to accidentally pull it off again!

Now the locks are in place, I’m like a forgetful safe-cracker, with my little magnet, trying to remember where exactly the lock is on the other side of the door. It takes forever! Seriously, the makers should forget the whole ‘child safety’ element of the devices and sell them to dieters. You could starve to death as you slide the magnet around, waiting for the lock to click!

GOD! I HATE DIY! 

Still Sinking…

www.facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

 

 

10 lessons I learned from Sam’s 1st birthday party…

“Let’s have a party!” I said, with an enthusiasm that I now understand was naive.

“Yes,” said Sam’s Mum, ” something small.”

I must admit I don’t like the word ‘small’. I’m a BIG person, with a BIG appetite and a BIG mouth.

“Not that small. We want a day to remember.” I insisted.

“Yes, a small day to remember.”

“We’ll figure out the details later,” I suggested.

Small details.”

That woman has more wisdom than a whole host of Solomons. We ended up with a small-ish party and it almost killed me. I swear that next year we’re just going to show Sam a photo of a birthday cake and that’ll be it…

Here’s the 10 lessons I learned from Sam’s 1st Birthday Party…

1:

The party is not for the child.

It’s for the adults who’ve survived a year with a child. Rather than being called a ‘Birthday Party’ it should be named a ‘365 days without accidentally damaging your baby party”. Sam had a great time at the do, there’s no doubt on that, but he had no idea what was going on and would, I’m sure, have been most surprised that the collected throng were assembled for him.

2:

There will always be too much food.

This is something I find very tricky, I want to be a good host – part of which includes ensuring that no guest leaves feeling hungry. That said, guessing the size of appetite possessed by a group of grannies, new mums and their tots is an almost impossible task. I totally miscalculated, leaving a table that looked like my local Iceland was suffering from a power cut and had cooked everything in their freezers. Let’s just say that many sausage rolls found their way to a bin that day – totally untouched. Their sacrifice will always be remembered.

3:

Any salad is too much salad. 

Sam’s mum and I looked at the assembled masses of beige food and realised we needed more salad. So bowls of leaves were bought, dressed and ignored. Nobody ever touches salad at a children’s party, but it HAS TO BE THERE – it’s the law! If I ever get on Dragons’ Den, my big idea will be inflatable bowls of salad, that are placed on trestle tables to provide colour, then deflated to be used again. Genius eh?

4:

People aren’t really up for alcohol at midday. 

By the time the party started, I was so stressed that I quite fancied a drink – whether the sun was over the yard arm or not! The difficulty is getting someone else to drink with you. Grannies are no help in this cause, or granddads for that matter (stern looks from their better halves ensure this), while other parents are reticent as a mid-afternoon hangover (while looking after a youngster) is no fun at all. In this situation I found myself necking champagne making loud comments about not remembering the last time I drank during the day – to avoid any rumours of a perennial G & T with This Morning each morning emerging*.

*Note, this is a bad idea **.

**Note, I tried it once, it did make the show a lot more palatable.

5:

Babies love boxes. 

The sad truth is that no matter how amazing the present is, the baby will always prefer the box it comes in.

ALWAYS.

You could unwrap a fully-automated life-sized model of Disney World and the baby will ignore it and make a bee-line for the box it came in – to be fair this would be a pretty impressive box! In this situation, as your child impassively tosses aside an impressive selection of carefully chosen gifts, it falls to the parents to make ‘oohs!’ and ‘ahhs!’ on their behalf. I’ve never been particularly good at conveying emotion – I’m convinced it’s something to do with my Wigan-based upbringing – so I often find any enthusiastic exclamations can sound like sarcasm. In order to combat this I lift the tone of my voice an octave, which (if I’m not careful) leads to my sounding like an overly enthusiastic Mickey Mouse-clone exclaiming how lovely a teddy is.

God, this parenting stuff isn’t easy.

6:

I am no longer a raconteur.

Before Samuel’s arrival, I laboured under the deluded belief that I was something of a gifted conversationalist. I put myself as somewhere between Clive James and Peter Ustinov as a witty chatterbox that might give Parky reason to resurrect his chat show just to hear my anecdotes. Of course this was complete fantasy, but I could at least tell a funny story – I thought.

At the party I realised that these days had gone. My conversation is now limited to Sam and sleep. I started chatting to a friend I haven’t seen in some months and within seconds I was recounting my son’s bowel movements.

“Yes, we had a rather IMPRESSIVE poo today. His mum and I were VERY pleased.”

To their credit, my friend nodded as enthusiastically as you can to a story of a baby’s motion. Within milliseconds the chat had moved onto that old fall-back, the weather. Stephen Fry needn’t worry, I won’t be taking his seat on the chat show circuit any day soon.

7:

Agree the baby’s name in advance. 

Before you break into a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday To You… announce to the crowd how the child’s name will be used. Sam’s full name is Samuel, a two syllable word, which fits in with the two syllable gap left in the fore-mentioned song. The shortened version ‘Sam’ is only one syllable and can lead to an awkward lengthening of the name to ‘Sa.. am” – which the pedant in me hates. We found a clash of ‘Samuel’s and ‘Sa… am’s during our birthday song which I’m sure Gareth Malone would’ve hated. Not that I’m a fan of Mr Malone’s work either, but that’s another story.

8:

Name badges are great. 

Remembering names can, at the best of times, be a struggle for us all. A kid’s birthday party can be particularly taxing in this department, where most people don’t know each other. We didn’t give out name badges, but I wish we had done. My mum famously would go through the name of each and every one of my cousins before she’d settle on my name when trying to attract my attention. We had a few similar incidents at the party, which I won’t go into a avoid any blushes.

9:

Have a post-party, party. 

Sam’s mum and I were so EXHAUSTED by the time the party and the accompanying festivities were done that we needed a holiday. That wasn’t on the offing, but we did treat ourselves to a bottle of prosecco, a takeaway and half a movie – a major party for us. As any parent knows, I say ‘half a movie’ because we never have the stamina to sit up through a whole film. Those days are well and truly gone.

10:

Sam’s 2nd birthday will be small affair – tiny. 

Next year Sam’s birthday will be on a completely different scale. I enjoyed the experience for his first outing, but from now on we’ll be going smaller. I just don’t have the energy for anything else. Seriously, a year is no where near long enough to recuperate.

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad.

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

 

 

 

 

The News At One

So Sam just turned one.

ONE!

No, I can’t believe it either. He’s an entire year old. That’s 12 months of nappies, no sleep, naps and nasty niffs.

We made it!

When Sam was born, friends kept saying to me that the first year was the hardest. I reminded them of this during the birthday celebrations, and was told that year three was much tougher.

Thanks guys, talk about moving the goalposts!

Who knows what’s true? All I know is we managed to take our son on a complete rotation around the sun without doing anything monumentally stupid (well not much).

Here’s my highlights of the first year, I’m sorry I don’t remember when any of these things happened (my mind is a sieve) other than they all took place in the last 365 days…

1:

The first smile.

As Sam was a premature baby this arrived a little later than many might expect. But when it came, seriously, it made my millennium. I’ve a theory that nature withholds the nicer moments of a baby’s development until they’re really needed. For Sam’s mum and I, we were exhausted and emotional after months of hard work, pushed to breaking, then like an oasis on the horizon, he flashed us a smile. A proper smile, not wind. I’ll take that moment with me to my grave.

I knew there and then that I’d do anything for that little boy.

2:

Sharing a joke. 

Humour is hugely important to me. I bond with those I love through laughter. Generating peals of giggles is one of the most pleasurable things I think any of us can do. So when Sam and I shared our first joke it was magical. It wasn’t that funny really, what happened. I put a pair of his trousers on my head and he laughed, but to me it was pure unadulterated joy. To hear that laugh for the first time was blissful. Sam can’t talk yet, but we communicated through laughter at a very deep level. In an instant I forgot about the sleepless nights.

3:

Poo up the wall

I know this sounds like a negative rather than a positive – but for me it was a highlight of the year. I was changing a nappy and I mistimed it somehow and… well… an explosive poo splattered all over the nursery wall. It’s the type of thing where you just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But why was it a highlight? For some reason, when this happened, I felt like I’d been properly inducted into the guild of parenthood. I’d heard, throughout the pregnancy, all these horror stories of scatological incidents that occur with babies. Now at last I had my own, I was part of the funny anecdote club. I had a great story to embarrass Sam with when he was 30.

I wouldn’t want to have to clean massive amounts of poo off wallpaper, furniture, skirting board and carpet every day – but this one incident was a time I’ll remember for the funny side.

4

A shoulder to cry on…

For most of Sam’s year, his mum was exclusively the person he wanted when upset. That was fine with me, I was eager that Sam’s mum and he bonded, even if that meant I was relegated in the relationship to a fetcher and carrier role. That’s the way (in my mind) it should be, babies go first response is go to their mother for comfort.

In the last few months however, I’ve been allowed by Sam to act as a stand in. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much the substitute teacher of comforting cuddles, but even so, it would seem that daddy has the ability to make it all better.

This is a great, hugely rewarding, responsibility that I cherish.

 

I loved the little party we had for Sam to celebrate his first birthday and (although he had no idea what was going on) he loved all the attention. In fact, I enjoyed the whole birthday thing so much that I’ve decided we should do it all again next year!

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

@Outofdepth_dad

www.facebook.com/OutofDepthDad/